Organizers of a major volleyball tournament in Qatar have backed down over the wearing of bikinis, potentially ending a row that saw two German players vow to boycott the event over an apparent ban on skimpy teamwear.
German stars Karla Borger and Julia Sude said they would skip the competition after being prohibited from donning their regular sports uniform in Qatar in order out of “respect for the culture and traditions of the host country.”
The players had lambasted the clothing restrictions and expressed their anger at the tournament organizers who they felt had demanded to “tell them what to wear.”
“We are there to do our job but are being prevented from wearing our work clothes,” Borger said.
“This is really the only country and the only tournament where a government tells us how to do our job – we are criticizing that."
The world silver medalists questioned the FIVB’s choice of a host country where they would not be allowed to play in bikinis during severe heat.
“We are asking whether it’s necessary to hold a tournament there at all,” Sude said.
Event organizers softened their stance on the bikini rule on Monday, saying that there would be no restrictions regarding player clothing.
The Qatar Volleyball Association said it was “not making any demand on what athletes should wear at the event.”
“The FIVB believes strongly that women's beach volleyball, as all sport, should be judged on performance and effort and not on uniform,” the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) said.
“Therefore, during the competition in Doha, should players request to wear the standard uniform, they will be free to do so.”